Thursday, July 31, 2008

Will someone please remove...

...the piano that has been tied to my butt this week? Seriously, it has felt like I am dragging around a baby grand! Thankfully, I know that this is normal, being a month out of IM. The training is wearing me out, but I know it is doing its job.
I was up at 5am today to go to my early am bootcamp class. It was dark and cold this morning and tough to get out of bed. After the class I went straight to the pool, pumped that I finally had more than an hour of lane swim to get my 4km in!! I managed to do it in 80mins and made it just in time to my first PT client. Then it was off to teach another bootcamp class and by the time I was done I was hungry enough to chew my arm off.
I have another bootcamp tonight followed by my running group after which I should be pretty well beat.
Training this week has only been ok. I was miffed to have to ride inside yesterday due to 75km/hr winds. Tomorrow I am hoping to get a long ride in before our Jasper weekend, but the forecast is bad. Fingers are crossed. I am hoping to get 180km in before the weekend so I can cross it off the list and have fun going up and down mountains with D!

Training for the day:
Tuesday: Run 60
Wednesday: Swim 45 (2500m)
Bike 75min
Thursday: Swim 80mins (4000m)
Run: 75mins EZ

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Heaven on Earth

This post comes to you from a coffee shop in Jasper. We just finished a yummy lunch that we earned on a 2hr43 trail run this morning. So far, the Hunter family training camp in Jasper has been a huge success! Yesterday we turned mountains into molehills with climb after climb after climb. The 11km ascent up to Marmot Basin was quite a doozy, and the descent was dicey as it started to rain and I turned into a popsicle. After warming up with a sandwich and coffee life was good again and headed back out for another ride, this time into BC- climbing up to the great divide. Total ride time was 5hrs 21 for me, and most of it was climbing!
Friday was a travel day for me, and when I arrived into Jasper I went straight to the pool for a swim. Once again, I ran out of time and only got 3300m in...I will get to 4k!! I am feeling awesome in the pool, on the bike and running. Something tells me that this will be a good race for me :-)

Today while I was running through the mountains, overlooking the clear green lakes and breathing in the fresh mountain air, I was overwhelmed with a feeling that I was in heaven. Life is good.

I was thinking of you, Alan, on that run. You would have loved it! Especially when the skies opened up and turned the trails into muddy canals :-)

Pictures are trapped on my camera for now, and I am sure will do little justice to the beauty of this place....but I will post them when I get home.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The feeling of fitness

This is my favorite time of year. With our peak race 5 weeks out, the majority of the training and racing behind us, and just a few big weekend training sessions ahead, things start to feel exciting. I love the feeling of being at my peak, physically and mentally. My body feels fantastic, and I am totally motivated in my training to get the best out of myself in every workout. This 'peak' is not something that is sustainable all year, so I know that while in this window, I will enjoy it :-)

Yesterday after watching an incredible effort by the tour riders on alpe d'huez I was eager to get out on my bike. I am so lucky not to have a real job, and was able to get out on a Wednesday morning for a 3hr ride :-) I pushed myself on the ride, even on the 28km section into a headwind. I was thinking, the wind is like hills in the prairie. I felt good coming off the bike, other than being hungry. I did a micro T run before succumbing to my hungry belly.

Today I was back in the pool for another 3000m session. The pool here sucks in terms of hours for lane swim, with only 60mins for the lane swim and they start pulling out ropes early. Very frustrating as I am needing to up my distance in the pool but running out of time! I guess I either need to get up at the crack of dawn for the 5:30am swim or get faster. I stand a better chance of getting faster ;-)

This afternoon is some speed work on the track, then bootcamp and then my running group. The group runs are about 75mins now with walk breaks and warm up and cool down. I am treating them as my ez recovery runs.

Tomorrow I am meeting D in Jasper for a training weekend in paradise. I have Friday and Monday off so I will make it a 4 day sweet :-)

Update- made it to the track in 28 degree heat and suffered through some 800m repeats while trying to keep lunch from coming back :-)
Group run was just Twila and I so we got a great run in at a decent pace.

Wednesday TFTD: Bike 93km 3hrs10
T Run 10mins
TFTD: Swim 3000m 60mims
Speed work: 40mins
EZ run: 60mins

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Home Again Home Again

Well we are back after our amazing holiday in paradise :-)
I have a lot of blogging to catch up on, D has updated his blog and I will defer to his awesome accounts of the trip. I will add a bit of my own when I get a chance, but in a nutshell it was 7 days, 700+km and over 25hrs of amazing riding. Lots and lots and lots of climbing have helped me get my confidence and legs back.

Monday I did a 60min run just to get the cobwebs out, and today I managed a 3000m swim and a 70min ride followed by an easy hour run with my group.
All in all I am feeling good going into the final weeks of big volume. This weekend we are off to Jasper for some altitude training :-) We'll be there a few weekends before IM to get some big weekend sessions in.

And I got and early bday present from D aero helmet!! It looks fast, and I feel fast in it! We'll see if it makes any difference on race day- if nothing else I feel cool in it :-P

Monday training: Run 60mins
Tuesday: 60min swim 3000m
70min bike
60min run

Monday, July 7, 2008

Great White North 1/2 IM Race Report

I am the worst at procrastinating my race reports. I love reading other people's reports, and I like having a written account of my own, but the task of rehashing a race always seems so arduous...and there is really no way to describe accurately everything that goes on in a race....but I will give it a shot.

Leading up to this race I was really distracted. Distracted with being sick for the first time in 2 years, with working and growing my business, teaching classes and training clients, and distracted with D, who was sick as well the week leading up.
This distraction was a good thing. I had no time or energy to get stressed out or nervous, and I was just happy to be getting out of town for a 'holiday'.

We arrived in Stoney just in time for the pre race dinner, and I am glad we went as it was a great meal and there was a group doing this Japanese drumming that was absolutely outstanding. I seriously want to do that...maybe post triathlon life.
After dinner it was to the hotel for an early bedtime. We were both exhausted and slept in the next morning longer than normal.

I had an appointment at Element Multisport for a bike fit evaluation. I have been having a lot of neck/shoulder pain on my long rides and I have never actually had my tri bike professionally fit. I thought at least I could find out if there was anything obviously wrong with my fit, or if it was all residual damage from being hit by a car 3 years ago.

Cam at Element was awesome, not only did he make time for me on very short notice (and on a Saturday of a race!) but he spent over an hour analyzing and discussing options. In the end it was a very small change we made, but something I have not tried before, and I could feel a distinct difference almost immediately. D and I spent some time restocking gear we have run out of (and trying to keep our heads from exploding with all the options!!). I WISH we had a store up here like that. They had BY FAR the best selection of triathlon gear I have ever seen. And tons of selection of women's gear- you can tell there is a woman ordering :-)

After lunch, and a nap (I love naps) we headed out to the lake for a little spin and swim. By the end of the ride it was pouring rain so we decided to call off the swim. We left our bikes in transition and headed back to the city for some grub.
We had our pre race dinner (secret weapon) of beers and fries and hit the hay.

Race morning usually sucks for me. I hate getting up that early..but an 8am start time is nice. I slept well and woke easily at 5:00am. I was still full from the night before and had a hard time getting breakfast down. I ended up only eating about 1/4 of my cereal. I had my usual race morning diarrhea, which I am now used to, so it didn't freak me out. I guess it is my body's way of lightening up ;-)

We arrived at the lake and went about getting set up and ready. I needed the porta potty again, but the line up was huge. I had visions of Ironman last year when I was in the line up while the national anthem was sung and the pro start went off. I decided to get my wetsuit on half way and get completely ready in case I ran out of time. Thankfully I made it in time to use the pot, get in a little swim and hug and kiss D prior to the gun going off.

I positioned myself on the far right, directly in line with the bouy. Everyone else seemed to be clustered on the left side of the beach and I asked one of the other 4 people around me if there was a reason we were the only ones on that side. She didn't know and I didn't either, but I was happy to be away from all those people who I knew would turn into ruthless arm flailing savages once the gun went off.

On that note was anyone else surprised when it did fire? There was no lead up, just BANG...ok time to go.

I had clear water for virtually the entire swim. My position was great and I swam a straight line to the bouy. I hardly even looked up to sight, I just swam and was able to maintain a straight line all the way. The only contact came at the bouys where everyone was bunched up. I nearly swam under the bouy I was so close to it, but avoided any damage and carried on. Once again I picked a straight line and swam. This continued past the next bouy and all the way to shore for the first lap. I glanced at my watch and saw 18:30. A bit slower than I had expected, but still in the ball park. I dove back in and noticed more people were now around me. I swam on some feet for awhile but the guy was zig zagging and I decided I preferred to be on my own.
This was the best OW swim I have had in terms of staying calm and not getting beat up. I avoided most of the chaos and was able to get through without stopping, choking or getting hit. Victory!!

I exited the water and made a decent transition. I glanced at my watch as I was rolling out of transition and it was at 40mins. So an ok swim for me. Official time 37:22.

As I began the ride, I realized it was starting to rain. The air was warm, but I had only a singlet and shorts on. It would be motivation to ride hard, just to keep warm. I felt great starting the ride and was ready to push myself. On the way out of town I went over the railroad tracks and lost one of my bottles. I contemplated going back for it, but it was a cool day so I decided I would be fine with one bottle and aid station support.

As it turns out, I was fine. About 5km out of town, the sky opened up and it began to pour. It was heavy rain and the roads were beginning to form canals of water. Once again, motivation to ride faster, I wanted to get it over with! I pushed the entire ride, passed and was passed. I enjoyed the hills, both up and down, and was stoked to see D on his way back to town, looking strong in about 20th position.

The last 10km of the ride were a bit tougher, but I wanted to break 2:45 for a bike time so I pushed all I could. Official time including both transitions was 2:48:21 so I was close.

Heading into the run I wasn't sure what to expect. I pushed hard on the bike, and took in very little nutrition wise. I also chose to get brand new shoes the day before (Zoots) which is one of those hard and fast rules I love to break :-)

Starting out, my left shin was tight, and I had to pee really bad. The first two porta stops were full and I wasn't willing to stop and wait. A few km later we entered a park where there were outhouses and I was able to stop. After that I felt great. I was running steady, short steps and fast turnover. My legs felt amazing...I was pleasantly surprised!

At around 6km I saw D. He looked like he was out for a pleasure run, smiling and relaxed. But he had run himself into 8th place as I'd counted and I gave him a high five and wayta go on the way by. Other than a stomach cramp from 8-10km, The rest of the run was uneventful. I reeled in as many people as I could see and was only passed once. With about 4km to go I tucked in behind a couple of guys who were running at a good pace. I stayed there for 2km and then after an aide station took off. They helped me up my pace a bit and with only 2km to go I pushed it one more notch and found a bit of hurt for the final stretch. I saw the clock click to 5:11 as I was approaching. D was there and I caught a high five on the way by as I pushed across the line. I was so happy. What a day!
Official run time 1:45:27.

I surpassed all of my time goals, but most importantly, I had a near perfect race. I felt good the entire day, pushed myself 100% the whole way and never ran into any issues that hindered me. I feel like I was able to race to my full potential and actually see what I could do with my level of fitness. I was mentally positive and happy the entire race, I felt grateful and enjoyed each event. The weather did not bother me, I ran through the cramp, and in the end I took about off about 30mins from my last 1/2 IM time.

Official finish time: 5:11:10 .

It was a fantastic race, well organized and set up so that people only have to worry about going fast :-)

D had an amazing day as well, finishing 7th (4:16!) overall in a competitive field. I am so proud of him for pushing through a tough week and giving it 100% on race day.

It was also great to see some friends from Calgary and Edmonton out there, congrats to everyone for "surviving!!"

We celebrated with a shower and some pizza at BPs. After grabbing a starbuck's for the road we made our way home, with a short week to get through before packing up and heading to Tour BC on Friday.

I am sooooo excited for a week of nothing but RIDING MY BIKE :-)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Almost Game Time

We leave tomorrow for Edmonton, for the GWN 1/2 IM on Sunday. I am feeling a bit undercooked, meaning I have had a strange last few weeks of training. Being sick, off and training on eggshells paranoid that I will end up sick again. D is feeling under the weather today and I am hoping and praying he pulls out of it. He is really looking forward to the race and he has been training so well it would be great to see him able to test himself in the race.
I am looking forward tot he race as well, I have wanted to do this race for a long time and I am going to enjoy it.
It was a scorcher today and I was outside most of the day with clients/classes. I went to the pool for the lunch hour lane swim and when I got there I found I didn;t have my swim suit...d'oh. The lane swim is only and hour and there was no way I could go home get back and have enough time to that was out. I snuck in a fast hour bike ride and did some race pace riding. I felt great and I would love to have a race ride that felt that good- even though it was 32 degrees!
I jogged over to see the girls and cooled off with them in the kiddie pool- ice bath!! It was awesome.
Another class and then the run class which was thankfully an easy and short run- the heat was oppressive! By the time we were finishing up the clouds had rolled in, the wind picked up and it looked like the rain was soon to follow. As I am here blogging, it is raining, thundering and lightning. I love it. Now if the house would just cool off I might be able to sleep!
TFTD: Bike 60min
EZRun 40mins

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Canada Day!

Well D had the day off, but I had classes and clients all day so it was only a half holiday in the house. We did get to go for our first swim together in forever which was great, and even better because it was smokin hot out and we hit the outdoor pool.
After helping the lifegaurds put in the lane ropes (?) I only had 50 mins to swim so I didn't get through my whole workout.
Later in the day was another class and then the learn to run group. I rode my clunker mountain bike down to the group and got in some good intervals on the trail run, running back and forth between the groups, running the hills 2-3 times etc. Then I rode home as fast as I could. By the end of the day I was spent.

TFTD: Swim 2500m 50mins
Bike 60mins
Run 45mins